An Anthem of August

Red Rocks (J.Kravitz)

Red Rocks (J.Kravitz)

If one thing was for certain this past tour, when the band cranked up the intro to “Down With Disease,” we knew were were in for a creative jam session.  Each of the the song’s four appearances on the second leg of summer was unique, and all were highlights of their shows.  Always a band and crowd favorite, Phish made no bones about pushing the classic vehicle this summer.  Using “Disease’s” safe and upbeat textures to get the audience going and the band united, their real creativity usually came after the searing composed jam.  Much like “Drowned” and “Rock and Roll,” the band’s other frequent summer springboards, “Disease” allowed the band to settle into a fool-proof rock groove before stepping up and taking musical risks.  Bringing the song to all corners of the musical globe, “Disease” was one of August’s most versatile jams.

8.1.09 (G.Lucas)

Red Rocks - 8.1 (G.Lucas)

Beginning an the third night of Red Rocks, Phish segued out of a set-opening “Rock and Roll” into the first “Disease” of the run.  Centering it squarely in the second set, this piece of improv took center stage , providing the most adventurous excursion of the evening by leaps and bounds.  After Phish crushed the initial part of the song, they careened out of its structure into some aggressive rock patterns, whose layers were gradually peeled away, leaving an oddly-percussive groove.  Taking this arrival point on an exploratory path, the band entered into some new musical turf, guided by Page’s prominent organ leads and Trey’s note bending complimentary patterns.  Fishman, however, stood as the player of this piece, continually flowing with unique rhythms that defined the sound of the jam.

Shoreline - 8.5 (voopa)

Shoreline - 8.5 (J.Florek)

When the band landed in the Bay Area for a Wednesday night affair at Shoreline, “Disease” was again showcased in the second set with a colossal twenty-minute version.  The composed section of this go-round featured some inspiring “type-I” shredding by Big Red, setting up, arguably, the most outstanding version of the entire summer.  Trey took the lead out of Shoreline’s composed jam, offering some gnarled leads and hard rhythm chops while Page killed his clavinet.  Trey began to change the pattern of his chops, slicing and dicing the jam from all angles, on top of a sparse, yet cogent, pocket.  As Mike and Fish engaged in some eclectic interplay, the rhythmic structure of the jam became its most unique quality.

Shorline (voopa)

Shoreline (J.Florek)

After using his guitar percussively, Trey oozed out of his grooves with a series of darker leads and effects, coaxing the entire band into a spacier milieu.  Trey  explored this realm with organic melodies while Page remained glued to his clav as if it were a matter of life or death.  This segment evolved into an eerie, ambient groove that was pure, unadulterated improv.  Phish settled into collective “type-II” experimentation- something that became the norm for “Disease” during August.  The exploratory epic landed in some intricately crafted drone soundscapes that reached deep into the abyss before segueing somewhat abruptly into “Limb By Limb.” Listen here.


After playing such a huge version of “Disease” at Shoreline, Phish turned right around and surprisingly opened The Gorge with the same summer anthem.  This time using the song to fire up the crowd, “Disease” opened a show for only the tenth time in its life.  Keeping this rendition within the song’s confines, the energy that the band infused into the jam was overwhelming.  With Trey jumping up and down before the song even kicked in, the band’s enthusiasm seeped directly into the audience.  Dripping with adrenaline from start to finish, this jam set the tone for what would be an unforgettable weekend.

Hartford - 8.14 (D.Vann)

Hartford - 8.14 (D.Vann)

The fourth and final appearance of  “Disease” came as the opener of Hartford’s second set.  Kicking off a frame of non-stop improv that would culminate with a visit from “Icculus,” this version climbed far beyond the boundaries of the song, resulting in one of the summer’s most surreal musical passages.  Getting the set moving with its high-octane rock and roll, Mike led the piece from behind the scenes with a flow of unique, pulsing rhythms.  In this version, the band rode out the composed jam a bit longer before sculpting the music- first with slick grooves, then percussive patterns, eventually getting to a final couple minutes of pure transcendence.  Breaking down the music into a slower groove, the band- all off a sudden- was surfing a spiritual wave out of nowhere.  If you were to craft a mix with of best minutes from the tour, these final two certainly be included.  But the blissful music was suddenly lopped off by the much-discussed “Wilson”-induced abortion.

Each time we heard Mike’s bass-slapping reverb this summer, it was like revving up the engine for a ride.  Four times we hopped in, and four times we came hopped out with a huge smile.  A feel-good summertime vehicle, “Disease” also gave Phish the perfect platform to craft multi-part jams, drawing in the audience with high-speed rock en route to deeper psychedelia.  As we move from Summer to Fall, we will likely see more diverse jam vehicles, but if there is one thing we know for sure, “Disease” is here to stay.

Winged music note=====

Jams of the Day:

Rock and Roll > Disease > Free” 8.1 II


“Disease” is at the anchor of this set-opening sequence from Red Rock’s third night.

Down With Disease > Wilson” 8.14 II


The beginning chapter of a larger second set story.



10.25.1996 Hampton Coliseum < Torrent

10.25.1996 Hampton Coliseum < Megaupload

Hampton '09 - ( J.DiGiuseppe)

Hampton '09 - ( J.DiGiuseppe)

Here we have the second Hampton show of the band’s career.  This is the night that Trey proclaimed Hampton to be his favorite room to play, thus  beginning the Phishy mystique behind the room they inherited from The Grateful Dead.  Before long, however, The Coliseum would transform into The Mothership- one of the Phishiest rooms in the land.

I: Ha Ha Ha, Taste, Makisupa Policeman, Maze, Billy Breathes, Mound, Guelah Papyrus, I Didn’t Know, Stash, The Squirming Coil

II: Tube, Prince Caspian, Timber Ho, TMWSIY > Avenu Malkenu > TMWSIY, NICU, Free, Strange Design, Harry Hood, Cavern, The Star Spangled Banner*

E: Johnny B. Goode

*A capella.

Source: Unknown

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448 Responses to “An Anthem of August”

  1. BingosBrother Says:

    Billy The Kid may be just the man we need to make our dreams come true. Always knew you were still around buddy. BTW, Young Guns = Epic Flick. I’ll make ya famous.

  2. AintNoTele Says:

    Leo, I agree totally and I think they could keep the sandwich fresh every time placing different song from their repertoire in the appropriate spots. These songs can not only act as a bridge, but help convey what trey is trying to get out (ie help tell us what he thinks by introducing new material with the ideas from old material). this also break down the die hard TTE haters by molding it into the loved favs, right now it sits by itself to be judged…

  3. William H. Bonney Says:


  4. William H. Bonney Says:

    As far as the festival 8 goes. I know more than a few who for whatever reason can’t make it. When you have a chance to see a Halloween set you don’t miss it. You find a way.

  5. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah miner, I’d like to hear an abstract discern jam

  6. whole tour! Says:

    thought long and hard on how i could find a way to indio.
    not in the cards.
    even for a halloween set.
    beleive me, i know how epic it will be.
    there is just no way i can swing a trip cross country after this summer.

  7. Mr.Miner Says:

    all discerns are post hiatus…I’ll get a listen only up there on Friday 😉 Tomorrow is done already…

  8. AintNoTele Says:

    wt! I’m in the same boat, i wish this was something we could team up on…but its just not gonna happen

  9. AintNoTele Says:

    thanks miner

    wt, the gorge was my one trip cross country…my flight got canceled out of SeaTac and i got stuck there all day/night so if i can pull free tix out of that situation I’ll go, but its a long shot

  10. William H. Bonney Says:

    My crew from the NE used all their time off for summer and are missing out. Found flight for less than 200. Lots of other expense but can’t miss.
    I’m out of Florida too, Whole Tour. I know you’ll be making new years!!

  11. sumodie Says:

    “When you have a chance to see a Halloween set you don’t miss it. You find a way.”

    I’ve only ever applied this logic to the NYE and festival shows -never made a Halloween show yet. And since this is a festival, I guess I’m not breaking tradition. Halloween is just the bonus. Along with the 3rd day. And the new locale. Nothing like creative financing – lol – just like old times.

  12. whole tour! Says:

    Hell yeah i’ll be making new years!!! Wouldn’t miss another miami run for the world. the last 4 nighter in miami was straight rage fest every night.

    that’s my current obtainable goal!
    already got my rooms booked and starting to stack some bills to go under the matress.

    Have fun in indio!

  13. BingosBrother Says:

    “When you have a chance to see a Halloween set you don’t miss it. You find a way.”

    Reminds me of Billy Madison.

    “Whoa whoa whoa, Miss Lippy. The part of the story I don’t like is that the little boy gave up looking for Happy after an hour. He didn’t put posters up or anything, he just sat on the porch like a goon and waited. That little boy’s gotta think ‘You got a pet. You got a responsibility.’ If your dog gets lost you don’t look for an hour then call it quits. You get your ass out there and you find that fucking dog. ”

    I have to find that fucking dog.

  14. William H. Bonney Says:

    03` NYE run was overall very good..nice to not have to freeze my ass off pre-show and have pile of coats two feet high.

  15. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ carpool, split costs…?

  16. BingosBrother Says:

    Wow, way to kill the thread with your logical and concerned suggestions miner. I don’t know how to make a winking face, so this sentence will have to suffice.

  17. tba Says:


  18. Phish...Yup Says:

    Reading all 442 comments just now was some very solid night reading. Peace gentlemen

  19. Mr.Miner Says:

    @tba- it was held up for length….

  20. Mr.Miner Says:

    I just approved it…where’d it go??

  21. BingosBrother Says:


  22. Lycanthropist Says:

    whos still up?

    benvento/moore was the shit

    wow jsut wow

  23. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ i bet…each if those guys are great!

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